The extra urgent concern for shareholders is how the divorce may have an effect on Jeff Bezos’ management of the corporate.
The specialists who CNBC interviewed couldn’t consider one other scenario the place a founding father of such an influential firm divorced a partner who had been with them for the reason that firm’s founding. The one one who got here to thoughts was Rupert Murdoch, whose second spouse Anna was with him for greater than 30 years as he constructed his media empire earlier than divorcing in 1999, however they reportedly had a prenuptial settlement.
It could be troublesome for the Bezoses to separate up their wealth with out dipping considerably into their Amazon shares, mentioned Jordan Neyland, an assistant professor of regulation at George Mason College who has written on the subject of CEO divorces.
“A variety of the prior CEO divorces have been extra profession professionals which have constructed up different wealth earlier than turning into CEO,” Neyland mentioned. “So I feel that is what makes this one a little bit completely different, being a founder getting divorced whereas in workplace.”
Usually, CEOs may keep away from splitting up their shares by leaving different belongings to their spouses, resembling actual property and different property. However for the Bezoses, Neyland mentioned, “all of the wealth goes to be tied up in Amazon. On this case, I do not know, in fact, what to think about one thing of this magnitude, however I think about his partner goes to get some quantity of inventory in Amazon. So that is going to alter the possession in Amazon.”
This might imply Amazon might have to discover a new construction to make sure that Jeff Bezos nonetheless owns sufficient voting energy together with his shares, Neyland mentioned, like creating completely different courses of shares with diversified quantities of voting energy.
“This may be some artistic lawyering that must occur,” Neyland mentioned. “I do not know if there’s been any type of precedent for this.”
However Starks speculated that the couple most likely got here to an settlement on that time effectively earlier than making their public announcement Wednesday.
“I’ve to think about that a few of the longest conversations and most authorized thoughts energy went into methods to style a settlement that retained Jeff Bezos’ skill to stay a controlling shareholder in Amazon,” Starks mentioned. To ensure that this to occur, Starks mentioned, MacKenzie Bezos may have elected to surrender declare to the inventory or hand over her voting rights to her shares.
A number of the phrases of the settlement might come to mild in Amazon SEC filings. Amazon declined to remark